How we create our travel map

Occasionally we are asked how we create our animated travel map.

It’s a long process, but let’s get started.

Setting up the Initial Map

  •  I use a Macintosh computer and an Application called ‘Keynote,’ which is the Macintosh equivalent to Microsoft’s ‘Powerpoint.’
    • ‘Keynote’ comes free when you buy a Macintosh computer.
  • I found a map of North America online. I took a screen snapshot of it and pasted it into a new blank slide in Keynote. 

Steps to create a travel day’s journey

  1. I go to www.google.com/maps and create a route-map of our travel-day by entering the beginning point and the end point.
  2. Using that Google travel-day route-map (created in step 1) as a reference, I draw a line over the Keynote slide I created in the initial setup above, replicating as close as I can, the actual route using the Keynote tool, ‘Insert/Line/Draw With a Pen.’ 
  3. Now I use the tool in Keynote called ‘Wipe’ to animate the drawn line (created in step 2) to go the direction we just traveled. ➡︎⬅︎⬆︎⬇︎➚⬋⬊⬉
  4. Next, I set how many milliseconds I want the animated line to move based on that day’s traveled miles. The more miles traveled that day, the longer the line would remain animated. Short days like 50 miles, might be 300 milliseconds, and a long day like 200 miles, might be 600 milliseconds.
  5. Now I put a black dot at the end point and animate it to ‘Appear’ when the travel line’s animation is finished.
  6. When ready for publishing, I use a Macintosh Application called ‘Quicktime,’ which is also free when you buy a Macintosh, to record the computer’s screen as Keynote plays the animation. 
  7. Once recorded, I import the Quicktime Screen Recording File into an Application called iMovie, which is also free when you buy a Macintosh, and adjust the speed of the movie to match the music and sound effects. 
  8. Next, I export the finished movie out of iMovie into a MP4 file and upload it to our website. 
  9. After each travel day I repeat steps 1 through 8, starting at the previous stopped location.

I update the website with a new updated animated map 3 or 4 times a month.

Sounds complicated? It was at first, but not any more because I have done it more than 450+ times. It only takes about 15 minutes to add a new travel day to the map.

If you try this and are successful, we would love to see your animated map on your website. Please leave your feedback and link to your map in the comment section below. Good luck!

6 thoughts on “How we create our travel map

    1. Carol, congratulations on going full-time Airstreaming next fall. Maybe our paths will cross. Please let us know if you are successful in creating an animated map. We would love to see it. Jim

  1. Ok…. Well this was way cool. We aren’t retired yet… well I’m not! 🙄 so luckily I have my work Mac. We take a 1.5 trip this summer through 11 states I believe and make one of these will be fun!!

    HH is our main stays…. And we are hoping this is a dry run for retirement in about 9 years!!!

    Thanks. I hope to be sharing a map soon!!!

    1. Tammie, your summer trip through 11 states sounds fun and we would love to see your animated map when you make it. Retirement in 9 years! You will be surprised how fast that will go! Maybe our paths will cross someday on the road. Stay safe our there! Jim

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